Learning Hula by DVD

For most of my fatty little life I was a tomboy. I dressed like a boy, a lot of times I wanted to be a boy. I was still very much a girl when it came to having crushes though. I wondered if perhaps I was a lesbian after awhile but I wasn’t attracted to women. Then sometime in college I lost a ton of weight and some of the girly girls I hung out with made me their Barbie doll. Makeup, tight clothes, hair style, etc. I was still very much a chunky monkey but for the first time I actually had something of a waist and could fit into Gap clothes. At first I didn’t care much about any of it but I guess being female finally caught up with me and I began to enjoy it.

Then came the day when I learned I actually had…HIPS!

Wow! I have hips? Who knew?

Three women taught me about my hips. Not my mom, no.

Kili, Neena, and Veena.

To many those names would sound familiar. But to many more I think they’d be a mystery.

Neena and Veena are twin sister belly dancing instructors of whom I will speak later.

I started with Kili’s Island Girl Dance Fitness Workout For Beginners DVDs. With Kili as my instructor, I discovered my hips and that I could move them!

Hula Abs and Buns with Kili was her first DVD that I bought from Natural Journeys. She teaches outside in Hawai’i with two women as her backup. The dance routine you learn is demonstrated first so you know what you’ll be in for. Then she’ll guide you through a warmup and into the routine itself. Each move is broken up and practiced before adding in another move and another and another till you have the entire routine. She’ll go through the routine in its entirety once or twice with instruction before doing it in silence about two more times and then ending in a cool down.

Among the moves taught in this DVD are the:

  • kaholo
  • hela
  • double hela
  • ka’o
  • ‘ami

It can be difficult for the ultimate beginner in fitness and in hula. It was super difficult for me on both counts but mostly because I was new to hula itself and had to learn how to move my hips. After trying the DVD a few times, not only did I know the dance well enough to never make a mistake but I had also discovered my hips.

Her other DVD that I have is Cardio Hula with Kili. Harder than Hula Abs and Buns but also more fun in a way. She employs the same teaching method and teaches many of the same moves in a different pattern.

Some different moves taught in this DVD are the:

  • ‘uwehe
  • lele ‘uwehe

When I first tried these DVDs I wasn’t in shape so I huffed and puffed and sweated like an Irish guy I knew for a time awhile back. Now, however, the constant movement warms my body and gives me a light sheen of sweat but that’s mostly because I sweat rather easily. The workouts are meant for beginners and are not intense. Kili also sways down to the ground a couple times and my knees can’t take that (nor can my thighs for that matter) but I go to my limit and stop there, swaying at my level till she comes back up and we go on with the routine. You can get both DVDs at Natural Journeys.

On each DVD is a bonus dance performed by Kili in full garb. It’s…different. I’ve seen more interesting dances on youtube but no complaints. I’m sure people are asking, “Is Kili teaching real hula dances, etc?” Honestly, I don’t know. It could be more of a fitness and basic moves thing for beginners. I have no other hula teachers with whom to compare her. However, I do know of someone who learned hula in a professional class setting for I don’t know how many years. She’s competed with her group in more than one competition and made lasting relationships with the others in her school/group.

I’ve lost touch with her since she moved but she can be found on twitter @HulaSan. Her name’s Amanda.

*DISCLAIMER: Always check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise programs. I’m not a certified trainer or group fitness instructor and will NOT be held responsible should any injury occur while trying something posted here. These DVDs are merely two dance fitness DVDs I enjoy and wanted to share.*


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on October 23, 2013, in Dance, Fitness, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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